2 Important Considerations For Choosing Between Standard Garage Door Openers

The two most popular garage door openers are chain-drive and belt-drive. While manufacturers make other styles, including screw-driven and direct-drive, most homeowners find themselves choosing between chain-drives or belt-drives. The two openers employ the same basic operation.

A metal arm attaches to the garage door, which in turn connects to a trolley. Either a chain, which is like a bike chain, or a reinforced belt pulls or pushes the trolly to move the door. Otherwise, most features, such as security lights and programmable remote controls, are the same. Therefore, your decision will probably come down to one of two factors.


Within both types of garage door openers, you have several manufacturers, each of whom offers a range of models. The upgrades and add-ons you choose will impact the price. However, across the board, chain-drive openers start and stay at a lower price point than belt-drive openers.

The additional outlay of money for the belt-drive opener isn't huge. According to home improvement expert Bob Vila, the difference is about $30 to $60. That disparity depends on the model, of course.

One factor adds to this consideration. Belt-drive openers don't last quite as long as chain-drive openers. A good garage door opener should last about 10 to 15 years. The belt, though reinforced, just isn't quite as strong as a chain. So, you might have to replace it more quickly. What's more, chain-drive openers are easier to maintain, which helps extend their life span.


The other big consideration between these two types of openers is the noise level. Manufacturers have made big strides in how they construct chain-drive openers. For instance, some models use a looser chain to reduce the amount of friction. However, a chain-drive opener operates with a metal chain pulling across a metal track, which is noisy.

The biggest advantage of belt-drive openers is they're much quieter. Indeed, many models incorporate the word "silent" into their names. The manufacturers typically construct the belt out of either rubber or PVC that they reinforce with steel or fiberglass. So, with belt-drive openers, the belt rather than metal pulls across the metal track.

Deciding between the Two

So, which garage door opener is better? They're both good. If price and longevity are important to you, then you should look into the chain-drive models. As noted, you can find some chain-drive openers with quiet operation. They're often pricier than the base models, though.

If your garage is attached to the house, a belt-drive opener may be a better bet. This consideration is especially true if you have a bedroom above the garage. Belt-drive openers are simply that much quieter.

Keep the above considerations in mind as you shop for a garage door opener.

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